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A husband and wife have come out as gay after 30 years of keeping it a secret from everyone but each other.
Brad and Cyndi Marler had revealed their news a few years after getting married, but they went on to keep it from anyone else for another three decades - and two children.
The duo - who marked 32 years of marriage in September - are now living 'authentically' in Chicago after experiencing the 'all-American life' in the small towns of Smithton and Freeburg in Illinois.
Brad said: "We always said it was us against the world."
They've explained how coming out was never an option because of their religious teachings and the fact they they were a part of small communities with shared beliefs.
Cyndi explained how she and Brad were taught, saying: "Being homosexual, you're just going to go straight to hell. There's no two ways to it."
She added: "We wanted the house, the dog, the two kids - and we did all of that. We made a decision to make it work. This was what we were going to do."
They've also said they wouldn't have been able to be true to themselves if their parents were still alive and revealed that another big factor in their decision was their daughter coming out as a lesbian.
Brad remembered back to when he was 16 and had a conversation about his sexuality with his mum.
He explained: "She just said, 'If you are, that's not OK. You're not going to do this to the family.' We never spoke about it again."
According to Associated Press, the Marlers lived together until March when they went their separate ways and both moved into apartments in Chicago to explore life as a part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Brad has compared it to feeling like he's going through a second adolescence while Cyndi has been focussing on figuring herself out and pursuing a relationship with a woman.
They said that they're 'still best friends' but that their 'dynamic is better now' than previously.
Research from the UCLA School of Law Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy shows that people in the United States are coming out at a younger age than previous generations, which means that Brad and Cyndi are part of a segment of the LGBTQ community that waits until later in life.
Ilan Meyer, a senior scholar of public policy with the Williams Institute, said: "Society is still inhospitable. That's not to deny so many amazing shifts in public attitudes, in laws, in policies, but it did not wash away a hundred years of homophobia in society."
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